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Can I Do It... Till I Need Glasses
Directed by I. Robert Levy
Written by Mike Callie, I. Robert Levy, Mike Price
With: Jeff Doucette, Roger Behr, Joey Camen, Moose Carlson, Tallie Cochrane, Vic Dunlop, Debra Klose, Robin Williams, Walter Olkewicz, Saba, others
A pre-"Mork & Mindy" Robin Williams appears unhilariously in two of the couple dozen brief skits that make up "Can I Do It ... 'Til I Need Glasses?," a followup to "If You Don't Stop It ... You'll Go Blind!" After the making these two movies, the creative team did indeed stop it, though it could be argued that, comedy-wise, they were blind before they started.
The 1970s brought a cottage industry of low-budget, R-rated anti-establishment skit comedies such as "The Groove Tube" (the best of the bunch), "Kentucky Fried Movie" and "Tunnel Vision." "Glasses" lies somewhere near the bottom of the barrel, its sexually and racially based humor deriving equally from old shaggy dog stories, the ABC hit "Love American Style" and Playboy Party Jokes (which at least have had the advantage of being proximate to the literary likes of Dan Jenkins and John Updike). A Native American girl, sitting outside her teepee, learns from her father how she got the name Broken Rubber. A Confucius-like Chinese man accuses his daughter of dating a Jew; "What schmuck tell you that?," she counters. A fat guy tells his girl, "I really want to get in your pants"; cut to him walking away, wearing her tight pink panties. The great comfort in all this is the knowledge that each tableau will be over in a minute or two. (I did chuckle, though, at a male nudist delivering two coffees and two doughnuts.)
Besides Williams, the only other performer of note here is Walter Olkewicz, who would find immortality by association as north-of-the-border sleazeball Jacques Renault in "Twin Peaks."
In an act of unnecessary diligence, "Can I Do It ... 'Til I Need Glasses?" has been restored to look probably better than it ever did when it was new (but never fresh) 31 years ago. The original, somewhat widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio has been preserved, and the colors are rich and crisp; while the humor, hair, clothes and acting styles show signs of age, the transfer does not. Filming was done on the nondescript streets and parks of the San Fernando Valley, but considerable effort went into the production design of some of the interior scenes, such as a fairly elaborate Western saloon and a fantasy sequence set within a man's testicles, where, in a blatant "homage" to Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask," sperm (portrayed by men and women) prepare for ejaculation. The mono audio gets the job done.
The main menu offers a choice of Play, Chapters (there are 16, considerably fewer than the number of scenes), Extras, Original Trailer and Code Red Trailers. The trailers are for forgotten genre items only a Tarantino could love, such as the American-shot giallo "Beyond the Door," with Juliet Mills, "The Dead Pit," "The Farmer" ("in the tradition of 'Five Easy Pieces' and 'Taxi Driver' "), "The Obsessed One" ("a magnificent movie masterpiece" that looks like a mumblecore version of "Superfly"), the war drama "Power Play," with Peter O'Toole, "Sole Survivor" and "Wacky Taxi," starring John Astin in "the wildest ride since 'Bullitt' and 'The French Connection.' "
Either the disc viewed was defective, or the "Extras" option was a joke: I clicked on it and got a brief clip from "Glasses" in which a news vendor holds up a paper and shouts, "Extra! Extra!," before the screen froze and returned me to the main menu.
There are three possible types of customer for this DVD: Robin Williams completists, fans of 1970s throwaways, and lovers of pre-Pilates, pre-bikini wax female nudity. There's nothing for connoisseurs of comedy -- the numerous one-joke skits are mostly groaners. The disc is decently produced, and its schlocky (unrestored) trailers add a little kitsch value. But anyone simply seeking entertainment should keep looking.